PG&E: Criminal charges?

May 20, 2019

Will PG&E face criminal charges for California's Camp Fire?


Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK/RYAN SABALOW: "Will the state Attorney General or the Butte County district attorney file criminal charges against Pacific Gas & Electric now that state fire investigators have found the utility giant responsible for causing last year’s deadly Camp Fire?"


"The answer may hinge, legal experts say, on whether PG&E was reckless in failing to replace aging or damaged equipment and on whether prosecutors feel they can prove that in court beyond reasonable doubt."


"The Camp Fire was the worst wildfire in state history, killing 85 hillside residents in Butte County and destroying nearly 19,000 buildings."


READ MORE related to Wildfire Epidemic: 'Dark tourism' comes to Camp Fire-ravaged Paradise. But please, no selfie sticks -- Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK; Fire danger could force SF blackout, PG&E says -- The Chronicle's J.D. MORRIS; Trump threatens to cut millions from fire departments in California after deadly wildfires -- McClatchy's EMILY CADEI


The market thinks the trade war stinks. A California garlic grower disagrees


The Chronicle's SOPHIA KUNTHARA: "A lot of people think the trade war with China stinks."


"But one Bay Area business is breathing easier: Christopher Ranch, the nation’s largest commercial garlic grower, which stands to gain from a 25% tariff the Trump administration imposed on Chinese garlic and other goods this month."


"This is a unique moment,” said Ken Christopher, the executive vice president of the Gilroy company, who said he was “elated” when the news was announced. A photo on the ranch’s Facebook page shows Christopher celebrating by jumping in a bin of garlic skins and throwing them into the air like confetti."


Guns, gas and soda -- most California tax proposals died at the Capitol, but few remain?


Sacramento Bee's HANNAH WILEY/BRYAN ANDERSON: "California lawmakers this year put forward new tax proposals that would have hit soda drinkers, bankers and gun owners  not to mention anyone with a car."


"Most of those proposals died this week in a major culling of bills, leaving only a handful of tax measures in place."


"Some of them died before they reached the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees, while others were pulled by their authors. The remaining were left to consideration on Thursday by the two checkpoint committees that decide which bills can move forward this legislative session."


READ MORE related to Death & Taxes: Tax the wealthy and big companies for road repairs? Democrats are divided -- Sacramento Bee's DAVID LIGHTMAN


Dem candidate Seth Moulton visits SF, says Trump harder to beat than most think


The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton may have jumped into the presidential race three weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean he’s confident about his chances of beating President Trump in 2020 — or those of any other Democrat."


"I think Donald Trump will be a lot harder to beat than most people think, especially those in Boston or San Francisco,” Moulton told about 50 people at a Mission District fundraiser Thursday night. “I’d say it’s 60 percent that Trump will be re-elected,” especially if the economy stays healthy."


"But four more years of Trump would be disastrous for the nation, he said."


Nanny state or progressive politics? In 'Ban Francisco,' the debate rages on


The Chronicle's CATHERINE HO: "To San Franciscan Chris Chin, the owner of a vape shop in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood, the proposed e-cigarette ban being considered by city officials would be tantamount to becoming the ultimate “nanny city."


"I’ve renamed it ‘Ban Francisco’ because you can’t do anything in the city,” said Chin, whose store, Gone With the Smoke, stands to go out of business if the city enacts the proposed ban. “You can’t get a plastic straw or bag, or flavored tobacco. What’s next?"


"Chin’s sentiments capture an undercurrent of frustration that a city once famous for its free-spirited ethos has strayed so far from its roots that many of its policies, framed as progressive, are starting to feel downright oppressive."


Adachi leak: Mayor Breed shifts stance slightly on raid of journalist


The Chronicle''s DOMINIC FRACASSA: "Mayor London Breed said Sunday she was “not okay with police raids on reporters,” a shift in her stance on the San Francisco Police Department’s seizure of computers and other possessions from a journalist who refused to identify the confidential police source who leaked him an internal report on the death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi."


"However, the mayor stopped short of saying the court-approved raid should not have happened, calling it “legal and warranted."


"Breed’s statement on Twitter appeared to be an attempt to express concern about press freedom without undercutting her police chief. It came amid a national outcry that arose following the May 10 raid on the home and office of freelance journalist Bryan Carmody, who sold the report on Adachi’s Feb. 22 death to three television stations. California journalists cannot be forced to reveal sources under the state’s shield law."


READ MORE related to Adachi Leak: What you need to know about the public defender's death and the raid on a journalist -- The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY


OPINION: Kamala Harris' campaign is hit and miss. And her staff is way too touchy


The Chronicle's WILLIE BROWN: "The last few days have been a clear example of why Sen. Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign is wobbling."


"Let’s begin with the former district attorney’s visit to her home ground for the 75th anniversary celebration of the Sun Reporter, the town’s African American newspaper."


"Harris worked the pre-party crowd with charm, sharing jokes and memories with everyone she came across."


He voted for Trump. Now he and his wife raise their son from opposite sides of the border


LA Times's JENNY JARVIE: "She is there when he wakes up, telling him she loves him and helping him coax their son, Ashton, to finish his Honey Nut Cheerios before the school bus whisks him to kindergarten."


"She is there when he is at work delivering UPS packages, and she’s there to greet their 6-year-old when he gets home from school, bounces up and down the stairs, and pulls the arms and legs of his Stretch Force Fireman."


"Yet Jason Rochester’s wife, Cecilia, is not really there."


Sacramento parents, students join statewide rallies against new sex education approach


Sacramento Bee's SAWSAN MORRAR: "More than 100 parents, students and community members marched Friday outside the Sacramento County Office of Education, protesting California’s controversial new framework for sex education adopted earlier this month."


"The newly mobilized group Informed Parents of California planned similar rallies at education offices in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties to oppose the State Board of Education’s approval of the revisions to the health and sex education framework."


"Despite large protests, the board unanimously approved the new guidelines that provide educators with K-12 educational resources on issues including safe sex, sex trafficking, sexual orientation and how to support transgender and non-conforming students in the classroom."


Lawsuit targets Sacramento for 84 arrests in 'wealthier' Fab 40s at Stephon Clark protest


Sacramento Bee's DARRELL SMITH: "Attorneys for the marchers confronted by police during Stephon Clark demonstrations in East Sacramento are suing the city of Sacramento, Sacramento County and its police and sheriff’s departments in federal court alleging civil rights violations in the mass crackdown that netted 84 people in the March protest."


"The 34-page suit filed Thursday in Sacramento federal court by attorneys Mark Merin and Paul Masuhara alleges a lengthy list of claims, including assault, false arrest, false imprisonment, unreasonable search and retaliation in the March 4 demonstrations that ended with riot gear-clad police and deputies herding the protesters onto the 51st Street overpass."


"The suit claims law enforcement retaliated against the demonstrators for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to protest, arrested or detained them without cause or warrants and intentionally inflicted emotional distress – all with the blessing of Sacramento city and county leaders."


READ MORE related to Prisons & Public Safety: Sacramento sheriff releases first internal records under new law. Files show deputy lied -- Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON; LA County juvenile halls are so chaotic, officers are afraid to go to work -- LA Times's MATT STILES


Trump tells anti-abortion activists to stay united for 2020


AP's DARLENE SUPERVILLE: "With Alabama's restrictive new abortion law stirring divisions on the right, President Donald Trump implored anti-abortion activists to stay united heading into the 2020 election even as he laid out where his personal views differ from the legislation."


"In a series of tweets posted just before midnight Saturday, Trump said gains by anti-abortion activists will "rapidly disappear" if, as he put it, "we are foolish and do not stay UNITED as one."


"Trump did not state whether he is for or against Alabama's law, underscoring the fine line a president seeking reelection is trying to walk between a conservative base that favors criminalizing access to abortion and potentially angering women who already are skeptical of him. The Alabama law forbids the procedure in almost all circumstances, including cases of rape and incest."


READ MORE related to POTUS45: Trump lashes out at Republican lawmaker who says he committed impeachable offenses -- LA Times's LAURA KING


Man drop-kicks former Gov. Schwarzenegger at South Africa sports competition


The Chronicle's LAUREN HERNANDEZ: "Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was drop-kicked Saturday while taking a Snapchat video of a multisport competition he promotes as part of his Arnold Sports Festival in South Africa, event organizers said."


"Cell phone video of the assault shows Schwarzenegger, 71, chatting with fans and panning a cell phone to capture a video of the gymnastics competition in the bustling Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg when an unknown enters the frame, charging toward him, jumping up and launching both of his feet into the former governor’s back, causing him to wince and stagger out of frame. But he remained standing."


"The man, described only by event organizers as a “crazed fan,” could be heard repeatedly screaming, “Help me! I need a Lamborghini!” while getting pulled away by a security guard."

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